In New York City, 1897, life has never been more thrilling-or dangerous Finley Jayne and her "straynge band of mysfits" have journeyed from London to America to rescue their friend Jasper from the clutches of a devious criminal demanding a trade-the dangerous device Jasper stole from him...for the life of the girl Jasper loves. One false move from Jasper, and the strange clockwork collar around Mei's neck tightens and tightens. From the rough streets of lower Manhattan to elegant Fifth Avenue, the motley crew of teens follows Jasper's elusive trail. And they're about to discover how far they'll go for friendship. More than ever, Finley must rely on powerful English duke Griffin King to balance her dark magic with her good side. Yet Griffin is at war with himself over his secret attraction to Finley...and will risk his life and reputation to save her. Now, to help those she's come to care for so deeply, Finley must infiltrate the criminal gang. Only problem is, she might like the dark side a little too much...The Girl in the Steel Corset, the first in The Steampunk Chronicles, was what initially piqued my interest in the growing steampunk genre. Even without reading the synopses of these books, it's quite difficult to not be intrigued by just the covers. I didn't know what to expect when I began reading The Girl in the Clockwork Collar, but I can honestly say that I jumped in wholeheartedly. After all, you really can't go wrong with Victorian-era England, Wild West-era United States, and a ton of unique alternative technology.
The Girl in the Clockwork Collar picks up right where book one left off. Finley, Griffin, and the rest of the "misfits" find themselves overseas in search of their friend Jasper, who has been captured on charges of murder. While his true friends attempt to uncover his location, Jasper encounters two people from his past that serve to create the main plot of the novel--his old "friend" Dalton and the one he loves, Mei.
I was very emotionally involved while reading this book for a number of reasons. First off, Finley proves herself through her unbelievable physical skills and also kept me very entertained with her attitude. I was rooting for her success the whole way through because she has the sort of character that you cannot help but admire. Then there's Griffin King, who shows growing interest in Finley but also doesn't quite know how to deal with his emotions. The tension didn't dissipate until the two of them sorted out their relationship. Finally, Mei and Jasper--I think I could have strangled Mei with that clockwork collar myself and I pitied Jasper to no end. That's all I can really say without spoiling anything. I thoroughly enjoyed the inclusion of secondary characters, such as Wildcat, who added their own bits of flair to the overall story.
It's evident that Cross is well-researched on her subject material but also aware that her readers are not necessarily as familiar with it as she is. I was much more comfortable with the steampunk elements this time around. The only negative I can think of was predictability, but I was still plenty happy to know that my guesses were indeed correct. Also, I missed Jack Dandy, a character from The Girl in the Steel Corset, just a little bit. Here's to hoping that he plays a larger role in book three!
Rating: 4/5 stars